J. Cole has a busy month ahead of him.
The rapper's latest album, "The Off-Season," which was released on May 14, has now topped the Billboard
200 chart, according to the publication, which comes one week after J. Cole made his pro basketball debut playing for the Rwandan team, Patriots Basketball Club, as part of the new Basketball Africa League
, or BAL.
J. Cole responded to the success of his album on Twitter
over the weekend, saying he was celebrating in Rwanda.
“Sending a thank you from Rwanda! #1 album, I appreciate the love, I heard the noise from out here,” he tweeted, adding, “‘The Off-Season’ means keep pushing yourself, and I will do the same.”
J. Cole, 36, made his Patriots debut last Sunday, May 16, when the team faced and defeated Nigeria's Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club 83 to 60. The rapper finished the game with three points, two assists, and three rebounds in just under 18 minutes, according to ESPN.
Look closely at the pre-game warm-ups provided by @SNAtionAfrica #theBAL pic.twitter.com/b2ibt8kpbB — Basketball Africa League (@theBAL) May 19, 2021
The “Off-Season” artist grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina
, and played basketball in high school before trying out for St. John’s University’s basketball team.
He told Sports
Illustrated in 2013 that he made the initial cuts as a walk-on at the university's team tryouts, but he skipped the next day's tryouts due to his fear of losing his lifestyle
at the time.
“I was in love with music
and knew I wanted to rap,” he told the publication, “so I had to make a decision that I knew would change the course of my life.”
J. Cole, whose full name is Jermaine Cole, has since openly reflected on his previous approach to basketball, admitting in a short documentary released earlier this month, "Applying Pressure: The Off-Season Documentary," that he didn't put in the work
that he should have.
The BAL is in its inaugural season; the NBA
and FIBA, basketball's international governing body
, announced the league's formation in 2019.
Jermaine Cole gets his first points for @PatriotsBBC #theBAL pic.twitter.com/juw5TAOYhf — Basketball Africa League (@theBAL) May 16, 2021
J. Cole's album, "The Off-Season," also won this month, debuting at No. 1 on Billboard's streaming songs chart for the first time, with the most streaming week for any album this year, according to Billboard.